Laboratory and field transmissometer studies on the effect of suspended particulate material upon the appearance of water are reported. Quantitative correlations were developed between remotely sensed image density, optical sea truth data, and actual sediment load. Evaluation of satellite image sea truth data for an offshore plume projects contours of transmissivity for two different tidal phases. Data clearly demonstrate the speed of change and movement of the optical plume for water patterns associated with the mouth of Mobile bay in which relatively clear Gulf of Mexico water enters the bay on the eastern side. Data show that wind stress in excess of 15 knots has a marked impact in producing suspended sediment loads.